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Amy Balkin (San Francisco) collaborating with Pond (San Francisco)

Award: $35,000 Visual Arts Grant awarded in 2004

Completed: 2006

Artists Amy Balkin, Kim Stringfellow, Tim Halbur, and two nonprofit organizations–Pond: art, activism & ideas, and Greenaction for Health & Environmental Justice–created Invisible 5an audio tour between San Francisco and Los Angeles, via Interstate 5, illuminating the current and historic environmental impacts on communities and land along the route.

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice assisted with research, plan development, and distribution of the finished work.  Invisible 5  is based on a series of audio segments related to existing or ghosted landmarks that drivers can see from the road, or that can be viewed within a mile of an exit ramp.  The project was produced as a two-CD set of complementary North and South tours that also could be downloaded.  An annotated booklet/map of the route—mixing landmark photography, collage, maps, and text—accompanied the CD set.

Featured sites include the Hunters Point Shipyard and Power Plant sites, Lawrence Livermore Labs, teh California Acqueduct, Tulare Dry Lake, the Coalinga Feed Lot, Covanta garbage incinerator, Westley Tire Fire site, and Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.

Lead artist Amy Balkin’s work focuses on how humans interact with and impact the social and material landscapes they inhabit.  Pond, which opened its doors in 2001, is dedicated to providing a forum through which experimental artists may share ideas and foster a mutually beneficial relationship with the larger community.